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Abbas: Deal with Hamas on Palestinian Government Expected Within Weeks


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he remains confident of reaching an agreement with Hamas on forming a unity government, despite continuing violence between his Fatah faction and Hamas militants.

Speaking to reporters in Davos, Switzerland Friday, Mr. Abbas said it should not take more than three weeks to finalize an agreement. But reiterated that if the talks fail, he will call for new elections.

Fatah and Hamas resumed talks this week, while militants from the two factions continue to clash in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian witnesses say gunmen shot and killed a member of the militant al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades group, which is linked to Fatah.

They say hours earlier a roadside bomb blast killed a member of the governing Hamas group.

On Thursday, in Davos, Mr. Abbas told the World Economic Forum that he was ready to immediately resume peace talks with Israel, saying that the time has come to make peace a reality.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who also is in Davos, said a Palestinian state is an achievable goal, but that compromising with extremists will not bring peace to the region.

Officials from the Mideast Quartet - the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia - are to meet in Washington next week to discuss ways to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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